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Full text of "NightRider"

242

reach to lay a finger on his lips and say, "Shh!" Once he
said to her, " You know, you're almost like two people to me."

"Yes?" she replied.

" The one who's here right now, and that other one I just
see around but never really talk to."

" It's hard to just be one person," she observed. They fell
silent for a while, then later, as though there had been no
interrupting silence, she said: "I love papa, and if he knew
about this it would almost kill him, I know. And I love you.
You see how it is."

He said nothing, listening to her breathing in the stillness
and waiting for her to resume. She went on, " If everything,
everything you were and wanted and owed to people—every-
thing—matched up just once, even for just a minute so you
were really one person, completely, then you would be almost
too happy to live."

" I reckon so," he said.

" It would be like when you love somebody, and are in their
arms, like that very instant, only more." Then, after a mo-
ment: "But, you don't know you are you then. You just
know you are."

He said, " If everything matched up, completely, maybe it
would be the same way, maybe you wouldn't know you are
you, the way it is now."

" No," she replied, " I'm sure you wouldn't know."

She seemed to him to be two persons, but sometimes, about
the place in the daytime, or when all of them were together,
some gesture or inflection or passing expression of her face
would suddenly blur the two identities in his mind, and he
would look sharply at her. Then, in an instant, the two
identities would again be distinct, and there before him would
be the girl who was cool and friendly with him and made
jokes with her father and moved so casually and competently
about the place, running the house, leaning with flushed
cheeks over a boiling pot, carrying out a basin of feed for the
chickens and calling, "Chick! chee—che-che-chick, chickJ"
That was the person who belonged to the daytime, to the